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Biography

Francisco Leontaritis or Francesco Londarit or Francesco Londarit, Franciscus Londariti, Leondaryti, Londaretus, Londaratus or Londaritus (1518-1572) was a Greek composer, singer and hymnographer from today's Heraklion of the Venetian-dominated Crete (Candia) at the Renaissance age. He is considered by many as the father of modern Greek classical music.

Leontaritis was born in 1518 in Crete, he was an established musician and soon moved from Crete to Italy to study Renaissance polyphonic music. He was a student of some of the greatest musicians of his time like Orlande de Lassus and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. He worked as a musician in choirs in Venice under the direction of Adrian Willaert. He established a reputation very quickly in Venice as a very capable composer and singer (cantore). He was thus invited to sing in churches in Rome and Padova. He was summoned to perform often at houses of nobles such as Antonio Zantani. His acquaintance with Nikolaus Stopius and through him to the German banker Jakob Fugger led him to Bavaria in Munich. He also worked as a composer in Augsburg and Salzburg. In 1568 he returned to Crete possibly to avoid his debts.

He was established in music dictionaries as "il Greco" (The Greek). He composed three masses and twenty one motets, madrigals and napolitans. From his work only three masses have survived until today; namely: Missa super Aller mi faut, Missa super Je prens en grez and Missa super Letatus sum.

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